Tag Archives: Key 23

“Mythology isn’t just Bulfinch’s; far less is it Frazier’s Golden Bough. It is the living, breathing story of humanity. Myths deal with the questions we all face in our lives, propose ways of being in the world which put us in accord or conflict with those various common dilemmas, and ultimately structure that world.”

—James Curcio, The Immanence of Myth

“The ability to manage social narratives has become an adaptive differentiator in an increasingly mediated world. It is not just the recognition that a narrative exists around all things that occur on the public stage, but that this narrative must be deliberately crafted and managed in order to successfully compete and advance in the game of life. This is a defining element of the modern stage and one that has only become possible within the vast infrastructure of global communication heaved up across the planet over the last hundred years.”

— chris23, Brief Notes on the Collective Mind and the Death of Truth

“Ya know what? I’m human. I piss, I shit, I fart and belch and vomit when I get sick. I fuck, and I bleed from my crotch once a month like most bio-females my age. Furthermore, I have a bad temper, strong opinions and a bad habit of putting my foot in my mouth at inopportune times. And you know what? I’m not going to pretend those things aren’t as much a part of me along with the intelligence, perseverance, love of talking shop, and pure sexiness, just so I can create a wholly positive image.”

Get me off this damned pedestal! by lupa in the Key 23 archive.

“Even among the occulture there’s a certain focus on image. People have this idea that once you become an author or some other notorious character that you automatically forfeit your right to make mistakes. There are those who take advantage of the vulnerability of being public by trying to tear down anyone whose success intimidates them. They work on the tabloid mentality that any public figures, even in a subculture, MUST be perfect, and any flaws are automatic signs of ill repute.”

Get me off this damned pedestal! by lupa in the Key 23 archive.

“Occultists often like to reconcile dualities, sometimes through harmonious union and other times through the constructive harnessing of their conflict, but it is worth remembering here that the root polarisation here is not between optimist and pessimist, but rather between desirable and undesirable. Pessimism and optimism only represent two of many attitudes towards this polarity and both represent unreconciled viewpoints of it.”

Beyond Optimism and Pessimism by anton in sludge in the Key 23 archive.

Datamancer

Anonymous interviewer talks with Datamancer in the Key 23 archive.

Publisher’s Note: The interviewee has asked that the interviewer be credited anonymously.

You’ve turned out some amazing work on the spur of the moment in like, one night. Yet, I remember when we were working on “Programming From the Ground Up”, something simple and bland like a cover design had you agonizing for days. When you finally settled on the design, it was almost like an act of surrender. It reminded me a lot of some of Crowley’s commonly stated complaints about writing books, where he would get so frustrated he’d just include a segment he hated, almost to spite the reader and the book. Do you find it harder to work on “normal” design projects? Are they a “necessary evil” for the up-and-coming designer or should people just focus on their work?

Well personally, I work from the heart. If I’m not personally motivated by a project or don’t believe in it, I have to drag myself through it like a crippled mule through the snow to a slaughterhouse. But….as miserable as it is, I think every designer should serve some time in the business world. It gives you a broader understanding of your audience and helps to refine your work ethic. I think it also taught me how to dull the edge of my own perfectionism. In the work-for-hire world, there is such a thing as “good enough”. That was tough to get past at first, and yes, it felt like an act of surrender.

Word Association: DARPA

DaVinci. It seems that all of the greatest engineers and inventors had to pay their dues as military designers at one time or another. As rampantly left-wing as I’ve been for most of my life, I have to say, there is something narcotically appealing about being given carte blanche with a nearly unlimited budget, no matter the application.

You’ve gotten the art of “creatively” obtaining materials and improvisation down to, well…an art. Most of your projects are done on a shoe-string (literally, in a few cases). Does this make you any less sympathetic to those out there complaining about lack of resources? If some wealthy sponsor came along, and offered you all the free materials you asked for (not cash), do you think you’d be happier with that or is the challenge of finding work arounds part of your creative process?

In general, I have very little sympathy for people who cry poverty as an excuse for not doing something. If you’ll pardon me a cliché, if there is a will, there is a way. Almost every project in my portfolio was completed with almost no budget. I rummage trash, I barter, I scour eBay, I steal, I scavenge, I salvage, whatever it takes. For instance, I hacked an old refrigerator apart last summer for the raw steel and I’ve since built about half of my pickup truck out of it including the bed walls, the running boards, floor patches, a fully custom rollpan, the license plate bucket, the two dashboard extension panels, as well as the hands for my Edward Scissorhands costume, the metal frame for my Opti-transcripticon scanner mod, The buttcap for my Espada Suena, some patches for my friend’s old BMW 2002, the faceplate for my bass amp, numerous brackets and small clips, and even a hanging wall mirror for my girlfriend. Just recently, I was chuckling over the number of uses I got out of a cheap, freebie paper desktop plotter. The faux leather corners were used on the Opti-Tran, the first page became the embossing glue template for the cover logo, the next few pages were used as masking paper for the Espada Suena, another one became a template for a new faceplate for my bass amp, and finally the cardboard backing was sliced up to become felted drawer inserts in my tiny jeweler’s workbench, all in the couse of about 2 weeks. Resourcefulness is the most important talent to cultivate.

I’d almost go so far as to say poverty is my muse.

Just believing that you can do something is most of the battle. Confidence is 70% of ability. I don’t mean “self-”confidence in the self-helpy kind of way, but more like the confidence to know that anything you’ll need to do probably isn’t all that different from something you already know how to do. Confidence in the sense that you can plod ahead in a project, not limited by your lack of knowledge in a certain area, and know that you can figure it out as you need to…not to be constrained by thinking within your current abilities, but to think within the bounds of your POTENTIAL abilities.

I hear you’re getting ready to unveil an intricate laptop mod. Tell us a little about it.

Ah yes. That’s my latest creation which I will be releasing very soon. It’s an HP ZT1000 laptop modded into what looks like a Victorian music box. It’s made up of swooping wooden mouldings and stained a rich red mahogany color. The lid features a display of brass clockworks under glass and wooden “gingerbreading”. It has antiqued copper keys, leather wristpads with copper rivets, an engraved brass faceplate, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Keep an eye on the site for photos, specs, and even a few tutorials.

Anything else in the works?

Recently a friend and fellow steampunk contraptor, Jake Von Slatt over at the SteampunkWorkshop(.com), made this beautiful brass keyboard in the style of an antique typewriter. He received a ton of inquiries from people all over the net but wasn’t interested in replicating the design, so he referred them over to me. I’m in the process of saving money for my move to California, so I happily accepted the commission. You can see my version in brushed aluminum on the Datamancer .net website. I am currently taking orders for them and plan on releasing a large batch of similar designs over the course of the next few months. I plan on making a few in aluminum, brass, and copper in assorted finishes and configurations. I am more than willing to customize them to individual preferences though, so people can feel free to contact me with their ideas.

“What is the subtle and sublime mechanism that underlies magick? In whatever system or technique, by some process we manifest mind into reality. Internally we can call it self improvement yet we know there’s so much more. By some arcane, digitally feral technologies our thoughts are often heard by the chaotic web of life, which responds in kind giving us that one sideways glance and cocked smile at just the right fucking moment to be beyond a doubt a sudden mind-blowing manifestation of magick. It’s as if there is a great presence existing in some very real yet abstracted layer of reality that interpenetrates everything, leading from the backs of our minds right to the central servers of the Akashic Record.”

magickal constructs by lvx23 in the Key 23 archive.

I Am Legend

Lucifer Benway reviews I Am Legend, dir. Francis Lawrence, in the Key 23 archive.

You know the drill. Will Smith in the supposedly truest to the book version of the novel I Am Legend. Made in the 60s as a vehicle for Vincent Price to pine for his dead wife (Last Man on Earth) and in the 70s with Charlton Heston being camp as all get out (Omega Man). In this one, Will Smith is an Army Lt. Col. who worked on the virus that’s turned human beings into zombie / vampire creatures or meat. Riding around in flashy cars with his German shepherd and hunting elk in the streets of New York, Smith is surprisingly convincing. Carrying a picture by oneself is a difficult chore to say the least and for a guy who started out rapping about getting grounded and dressing like Punky Brewster, Smith turns out a far better than workmanlike performance.

The Good: Creepy zombies, good cinematography, killer tracking shots of the deserted city, and more “last man on earth” fantasies than you can shake a stick at.

The Bad: He’s got running water, which is kind of weird but once you go down that route, the nuclear power plants would have exploded. Also, a bit of a downer.

The Bottom Line: Seeing Will Smith being that intense with graying hair is a bit emotionally jarring, but this is a symphony on film. Minimal blood and gore, maximum terror.

The Golden Compass

Lucifer Benway reviews The Golden Compass, dir. Chris Weitz, in the Key 23 archive.

Philip Pullman’s screed against organized religion hits the screens in a family-friendly Christmas release. It is, of course, little surprise that the film’s Gnostic message has been entirely purged from the film. However, the core attitudes about the oppressive nature of organized religion shine through. Did I mention polar bears with thumbs fighting in armor that they welded themselves using iron from fucking meteors? Sam Elliot in a hot air balloon as a cowboy?

The Good: Set design and special effects are fairly epic, befitting this film which is supposed to be a sort of follow-up to LOTR for New Line.

The Bad: The story is a little rushed and key elements are changed or left out. But what do you expect?

The Bottom Line: Take your little cousins to see this and give them an education in free thought.